I am pleased to introduce the 2012 KCTCS System Office Technology Solutions Annual Accomplishments Report. The achievements noted in this report directly reflect the commitment to service, customer satisfaction, and the innovative spirit of this organization. The dedication of technology staff at the system office and our local colleges is truly remarkable. The credit for our success goes to them.
2012 was an extraordinary year filled with exciting new technology projects which not only resulted in cost savings, but provided our students, faculty, and staff with best-of-breed technology experiences. A new student mobile application was launched, we had numerous successful PeopleSoft upgrades, and we moved all of our students to a new email solution giving them 1,700% more email storage!In addition to these major projects, a state-wide $7 million network infrastructure project was completed to give KCTCS a much stronger digital backbone across the Commonwealth. Beyond the projects successfully delivered, Technology Solutions Staff continued to provide outstanding customer service to students, faculty, and staff successfully fielding over 32,000 help desk tickets in 2012.
I look very forward to 2013 as our technology staff does their part in making KCTCS the nation’s premier community and technical college system.
KCTCS System Office Technology Solutions strives to be the trusted advisor for and champion of technology-based solutions for our (students, faculty, and staff of 16 Colleges at 68 locations). Technology Solutions is comprised of 42 dedicated team members and an extended network of contracted third-party partners that give us the flexibility to expertly plan and execute strategic technology. Strategic partnerships with best-of-breed technology providers such as Cedarcrestone, Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, and Oracle allow us to extend our reach and provide round-the-clock support to our students, faculty, and staff.
To be the trusted advisor for and the champion of technology-based solutions while first considering the human and functional elements in any proposed solution for KCTCS Colleges, faculty, staff, and students.
The development and definition of the goals for the KCTCS Technology Solutions organization were based on six guiding principles and fourteen goals. These are:
Goal 1.1 Technology Solutions will develop and refine unit strategic goals that are consistent with the KCTCSStrategic Plan.
Goal 2.1 Technology Solutions will endeavor to meet the diverse and unique technical support needs of students,faculty, staff, and alumni.
Goal 2.2 Technology Solutions will continue to monitor the utilization of staff, and funds for alignment with theKCTCS mission.
Goal 2.3 Technology Solutions management and staff will focus on our mission and values, assessing projects and individual contributions for alignment with KCTCS objectives.
Goal 2.4 Technology Solutions will foster an environment where open, thorough, and effective communicationwith all constituents is valued and rewarded.
Goal 3.1 Technology Solutions will create a dedicated role for system-wide and departmental technology communications including administrative, upgrade, outage, and training information.
Goal 3.2 Technology Solutions will recognize and reward its employees whose actions are mission-focused and exemplify teamwork and good communication.
Goal 4.1 Technology Solutions will work with the Colleges to provide services that will allow personallyowned computers and other mobile devices to be effectively utilized for instructional and customerservice purposes.
Goal 4.2 Technology Solutions will identify and determine effective usage of new delivery models such as cloud-based models.
Goal 5.1 Technology Solutions will continue to leverage economies of scale to expand and upgrade networks and other technical structural needs.
Goal 5.2 Technology Solutions will seek local, state, regional and global partnerships, and other opportunities to supplement and expand KCTCS’ technology services investments.
Goal 5.3 Technology Solutions will provide guidelines for system-wide and college-managed access for faculty, staff, and students to use information for the accomplishment of professional and educational goals.
Goal 6.1 Technology Solutions will develop and publish biennial standards and guidelines for hardware and software procurement, replacements, and upgrades so that Colleges can make informed and timely decisions about the sustainability of the Colleges’ technologies and support services.
Goal 6.2 Technology Solutions will employ best practice principles of project management for all development and enhancement projects within its purview by dedicating specific personnel with project management skills to the management of all on-going and new projects.
The first phase of the KCTCS Mobile app for students was released and made available for Apple, Android, andBlackberry devices. Features include access to class schedules, homework assignments, discussion boards, a collegedirectory, YouTube videos, maps of the college, social media (Facebook & Twitter), as well as helpful links to thebookstore and digital library services. http://kctcs.edu/grabapp
Two new web sites were deployed in 2012. The first was done for KOLTS, which is the KCTCS Online Learningand Teaching Support program. As a branch of KCTCS Online and eLearning, the program provides resources ininstructional technology, technical support, and training materials for the systems, software, and devices used by ouronline instructors. The new web site pulls all of these various resources together in a single streamlined collectionand can be found at http://kolts.kctcs.edu. The second was a new site for Southeast Kentucky Community andTechnical College’s “Portal 31 Exhibition Mine and Kentucky Coal Museum” attractions. These locations representone of Kentucky’s most valuable assets in educating the public about coal mining and offer visitors the chance toexperience firsthand the stories of the Kentucky coal mining history. The site allows visitors to learn more aboutthe exhibits and to plan their visits to these Kentucky landmarks. The site can be reached at: http://kycoalmuseumportal31.southeast.kctcs.edu.
A major administrative system upgrade of PeopleSoft Financials was completed in April 2012 on time and under budget. This update featured functionality upgrades in user experience, workflow approvals, and more streamlined pages. Improvements are being constantly identified and implemented as the system matures.
Technology Solutions successfully completed the upgrade of the Student Administration and Human Resource/ Payroll systems over the July 4th weekend on time and under budget. This upgrade now allows HCM to move forward with enhancements that will no longer impact Student Administration performance during heavy enrollment periods, including the rollout of reporting functionality to the colleges and additional self-service enhancements.
“The Cloud” is probably one of the biggest Internet technology buzzwords over the past few years, and KCTCS Technology Solutions is heavily involved in Cloud-based projects. In July 2012, KCTCS Technology Solutions completed the migration of 182,000 student email accounts to the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud platform. Students have greatly benefitted with mailbox sizes increasing over 1,700 percent on average. Planning discussions are underway on the feasibility of migrating faculty/staff email accounts to this platform as well. Office 365 allows us to continue offering the latest messaging features and has the potential to greatly reduce technology costs for providing computing resources and system administrative support.
System Office Technology Solutions now has one place to go when you need help. A help desk system was implemented combining systems used by web services, administrative systems (PeopleSoft), and desktop support in one unified portal.
https://ithelpdesk.kctcs.edu. Last year alone, Technology Solutions fielded over 32,000 tickets.
For the first time in KCTCS’s history, all of the major web properties of KCTCS, including all college sites, are on one version of a single content management system. This was a major three-year accomplishment for the Technology Solutions Web Team. All public web pages are now on a common version of our content management system, Sitecore.
Microsoft Lync is the tool used by KCTCS employees for instant messaging, conference calls, and webinars. Recently, the Technology Solutions Enterprise Infrastructure Team implemented Lync Mobility Services. The Lync Mobile Client offers a connected experience to communicate and conference on the go with iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows Mobile devices.
Visits to the KCTCS college web sites from mobile devices account for over 10 percent of all traffic. Collectively, the college sites receive over 240,000 visits per day. With nearly 25,000 visits per day coming from mobile devices, the audience is huge and will only continue to grow. To meet this demand, mobile versions of the college web sites were developed and deployed in late May and early June. Web pages automatically determine whether you are on a fullsize computer or a handheld device and render the pages in a way that is optimal for you to view.
KCTCS Information Security Officers (ISOs) released a survey to study how information is used and maintained outside the supported information infrastructure. Currently, this survey has been released by the individual collegiate and departmental ISOs to canvas those individuals that are known to be handling sensitive data outside the KCTCS infrastructure. The intent of this survey is to better understand how to meet the needs of those individuals with the supported infrastructure and eliminate security risks inherent to non-supported systems. In 2013, Technology Solutions will begin mitigation measures to ensure data is properly handled, stored, and protected.
In December 2012, the KCTCS firewall was tested to ensure the failover site would function in the event of a disaster. The firewall is the lifeblood of the KCTCS network, keeping the bad guys out and protecting connectivity between our colleges and the internet.
Technology Solutions (TS) continues working with Business Services to streamline and automate the Accounts Payable system. This new functionality will reduce errors, shorten lead time on payments, and be easier to use. A prototyping and pilot program is planned for September through December 2013.
As members of the Kentucky Virtual Library Voyager Consortium, KCTCS libraries have migrated to the Ex Libris hosted environment. The migration occurred in phases between December 16, 2011 and January 16, 2013. Ex Libris is the vendor of the Voyager library management system used by all the public postsecondary institutions in Kentucky. This move will result in substantial savings in hosting costs and also moves the consortium in the direction of the next generation library system.
The KCTCS wired infrastructure is now completely up to date with 638 Cisco switches installed across the network. With the completion of this refresh, KCTCS has successfully transitioned to a 7x24-managed network environment.
Over the last few months, the Technology Solutions PeopleSoft development and support staff have designed and implemented several enhancements to improve student experience college-level operations and provide additional resource efficiencies. A few of the most significant enhancements are:
Student Message Center: This new messaging center within student self-service contains a copy of all important email communications sent to students from the colleges. Students do not always check their email accounts, so we are providing an alternative method of communication. Students can reply to the communication and ask questions directly from the messaging center.
COMPASS and Advisor Assignment: A process to load COMPASS scores from the ACT/COMPASS testing database directly into PeopleSoft was deployed in late fall 2011. Another process was designed to assign multiple students to an advisor at the same time. These processes have eliminated the need for a considerable amount of manual data entry by college personnel.
In early June 2012, the KCTCS Technology Solutions (TS) leadership began development of a communications survey designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the communication efforts of the department within the System and to assist with the development of a communications plan for TS. On June 27, 2012, the survey was distributed to KCTCS employees. A total of 768 respondents participated in the survey; over 85 percent were college employees and 15 percent were System Office level employees.
Overall, the survey results were quite positive. With an average rating of 3.92 (Rating Scale 1-5) on three initial questions regarding satisfaction with current communications, the respondents indicated satisfaction. Employees continue to prefer email as a primary form of communication. However, the survey results did indicate a need to focus more efforts on training employees on the technologies used with a priority placed upon PeopleSoft training, particularly in the Student Administration System (which has the most users).
Technology Solutions is in the process of creating a communication plan in conjunction with system office marketing based upon the survey results by providing accurate and timely information about the daily operations and projects managed by Technology Solutions.
The Ad Hoc technology planning team was formed in January 2012 by System President Michael McCall. The responsibilities of this team include championing the Technology Plan and leading the overall change initiative, evaluating the Technology Plan to identify actionable opportunities in support of the plan, reviewing the planrecommendations, prioritizing and recommending projects and change initiatives designed to seize those opportunities, overseeing the transition of completed projects to operational status, and bringing forward input from KCTCS colleges. This group is chaired by Dr. James Klauber and Dr. George Edwards.
A Voice over IP (Internet-based phone system) Request for Proposal (RFP) and local college network management was awarded to Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions in October 2012. The process took nearly 9 months from RFP release to awarding and took many hours of difficult time-consuming work from system office and college staff to evaluate all responses.
In March 2012, KCTCS Technology Solutions initiated a systemwide effort to analyze key system and college-level business processes that utilize PeopleSoft Campus Solutions. The goal of this analysis was to identify, understand, and document critical business processes and redesign these processes for increased efficiency and effectiveness.
A comprehensive set of recommendations, both short- and longterm, have been provided as a result of the BPA activities. Technology Solutions staff has already begun to implement a few recommendations from the analysis but will be soliciting input from the colleges to prioritize the remaining recommendations. The PeopleSoft Campus Solutions technical and functional development staff will utilize the prioritized recommendations as the focus for directing staff resources over the next two to three years.
Access to the Gartner technology research portal, a repository of tens of thousands of research documents written by information technology industry experts, was given to all KCTCS Computer & Information Technology faculty. This resource will provide information about technology trends, predictions, and best practices which can be introduced into curriculum.
The KCTCS Learning Management System now has a redundant failover site in the event of an emergency at the primary data center in Somerset. Without this project, recovery from a major disaster could have very well taken weeks to deploy instead of minutes.
As KCTCS’s first step into the new world of digital recruiting, these web forms allow students to easily request more information from our colleges. By using these forms to “raise their hand”, they are actively demonstrating their interest in college and are establishing a first connection in a new relationship with recruiters. The names and contact information for the students are collected and saved in a customer relationship management system. As our digital recruiting efforts mature in the coming years, KCTCS and the colleges can leverage this system to reach out and proactively guide prospective students through the entire recruitment (and retention) process. These new web forms, which have been deployed to key areas of every college web site, give prospective students an easy and consistent way to begin their relationship with a KCTCS college.
Phase II of the Workforce Solutions CampusCE PeopleSoft Financials web integration project is pending initiation of testing the automated journal file exchange. CampusCE technical engineers continue to revise and prepare for the deployment of required system changes necessary for the commencement of testing. Thechanges require an adjustment to the testing and integration timeline, with the anticipated deployment of the integration to production January 2012.
All administrative applications were upgraded to the latest release of Oracle Clusterware 11gR2 which greatly improves response times, disaster recovery, and availability of all PeopleSoft systems.
KCTCS students may now request a transcript electronically within PeopleSoft Student Self-Service. Through a partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), students may request a KCTCS transcript by clicking on the link to NSC within the Student Center. The integration with the NSC passes the student’s KCTCS active directory credentials, providing a smooth transition for the creation of the transcript request.
Technology Solutions and Human Resources released the annual Information Security Policy Acknowledgement for KCTCS employees throughout the System. In conjunction with this effort, Human Resources launched the Harassment and Discrimination Training/Acknowledgement program on the same learning management system, which has created a common platform for policy acknowledgement and training. In addition, Technology Solutions transitioned support and administration of the learning management system to Human Resources personnel.
A new page in the KCTCS student administration system (PeopleSoft) allows students to identify individuals who are authorized to request information about Student Records, Financial information, and/or Financial Aid information. This is an ongoing effort to ensure FERPA compliance and student privacy/confidentiality.
A new process was developed using 30 different student data items to determine if a student is ready for financial aid packaging. Previously these factors were being checked manually by the Financial Aid staff at each college.
All administrative system security was reviewed to ensure proper security is assigned across our major administrative systems. These systems include Financials, HR/Payroll, Student Administration and the Decision Support System. All end user security changes identified in the audit were completed in July 2012. This process is completed each year in May/June prior to the external audit.
We added the ability to add attachments to PeopleSoft Financials in Accounts Payable, Asset Management, General Ledger, and Budgeting. This greatly reduced the amount of paperwork that had to be sent back and forth between the colleges and the system office.
A project is underway in 2013 to enhance the way 9-1-1 works when dialed from any of our phones across the system. Emergency Responder allows emergency responders to know the exact location the call is originating from, down the floor level of a multi-story building. In addition, the system tracks phone moves across the system.
KCTCS administrative systems have been hosted by a vendor for roughly ten years. As suggested by our state auditor several years ago, and as we did with our VOIP contract which was 10 years old, we will re-bid this contract to ensure the absolute best service, support, and disaster recovery for the money.
The KCTCS network is the lifeblood of the system and it needs to be protected. KCTCS is implementing a new software system from Microsoft which will allow system administrators the ability to verify the health (virus patch levels, etc) of a device before allowing it to connect to the network. Computers and other network devices that comply with the health requirements are then granted access to the network.
System Center is a software/hardware solution allowing systems management of large groups of Windows-based computer systems. Configuration Manager provides remote control, patch management, software distribution, operating system deployment, network access protection, and hardware and software inventory.
In 2012, all KCTCS students were moved to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud for email. We will be doing the same thing for faculty and staff in 2013. This will increase all employee mailboxes from 400MB to 25GB in size. Office 365 allows us to continue offering the latest messaging features and has the potential to greatly reduce technology costs for providing computing resources and system administrative support.
A project leveraging Microsoft SharePoint is underway to create an employee portal, or one-stop shop where employees go to find information and services personalized for them and do their work. The portal will pull together and link up all of the various information systems that an employee works with every day and will become the employee’s “Workplace Web”. It will initially deliver Employee Self Service functionality alongside related supportingcontent from Human Resources and Payroll in a more personalized yet comprehensive way. It will also provide a robust foundation for enterprise search and information governance across KCTCS. The system will continually evolve in future updates to include the latest employee-focused news and information, as well as consolidatedviews of departments, teams, and projects in which an employee is involved. Connections with other systems, including PeopleSoft Financials and Student System, the Data Warehouse, and many other third party systems will be developed to round out and expand the full realm of a KCTCS employee’s online tool set. This initial small step is just a start to build the framework and infrastructure foundation for this grand employee portal. Functionality and connectivity to other systems will be greatly expanded in future releases.
A special thanks to our technology plan team members who worked diligently with Technology Solutions in identification of key projects, priorities, and their candid feedback. This group will transition to a more traditional technology governance framework in 2013 and will be called upon throughout the year for evaluating, prioritizing, and approving key technology projects.
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